The Arkansas Senate voted yesterday to override Governor Mike Beebe's (D) Tuesday veto of a bill that bans abortion at twenty weeks. The Senate voted 19 to 14 in favor of overriding the veto following a House override vote of 53 to 28 on Wednesday. In Arkansas, a majority vote in both houses is the only requirement to override a veto and pass a bill into law. The passage of the bill makes Arkansas the tenth state to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks.
Beebe vetoed the bill on claims that it was unconstitutional. Additionally, the 20 week ban violates the legal threshold enacted by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has held that bans on abortion before a fetus is viable are unconstitutional. Viability usually occurs after the 24 week mark.
The state legislature also approved a bill outlawing abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected through an abdominal ultrasound, which typically occurs at 12 weeks. The bill now goes before Governor Beebe, who is expected to veto the legislation.
Media Resources: New York Times 2/28/13; Reuters 2/28/13; Feminist Newswire 2/28/2013, 2/14/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .